#IPA to host its first ever Twitter Chat

The Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) will host its first ever Twitter chat this Wednesday, 23 September 2015, entitled: Why Innovation Competitions are Important in Africa. The Twitter chat will feature IPA Director, Pauline Mujawamariya (@PaulineM4), CEO of The Innovation Hub in South Africa, Mclean Sibanda (@mcleansibanda) and IPA 2015 prize winner, Alex Muriu (@hellomuriu).

IPA is a landmark program of the African Innovation Foundation whose purpose is to increase the prosperity of Africans through catalysing the innovation spirit in Africa.  Now in its fifth year of promoting ingenuity across the continent, IPA’s “Made in Africa” campaign this year will go beyond identifying, rewarding and showcasing the most innovative African home-grown solutions to the continent’s challenges. In addition to selecting the top three winners with a grand share prize of US$150 000, AIF will also offer post-prize support to all nominees as well as promote young innovators and women to boost their innovations, including opportunities for training, mentoring, and media exposure.

Sibanda was head judge for IPA 2015, won by Prof Adnane Remmal from Morocco (grand prize of US$100 000), Alex Muriu from Kenya (second prize of US$25 000), and Prof Lesley Erica Scott from South Africa (special prize of US$25 000 for social impact). For more on the IPA 2015 winners, see http://innovationprizeforafrica.org/1771-2/. The hashtag for the Twitter Chat is #IPA2016.

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The Twitter chat will shed light on whether innovation competitions are adding value to the innovation ecosystem on the continent. In recent years, Africa, and indeed the rest of the world, has witnessed an increasing number of innovation competitions being launched. With these competitions, we have also seen innovators simply chasing prizes rather than enhancing their innovations.

Innovation competitions, should serve as incentives for innovators and provide the platform to connect with innovation enablers who can provide more resources and unlock innovators’ potential. “We think this is a very timely and important discussion in shaping the trajectory of the innovation ecosystem in Africa,” said Ms Mujawamariya, adding that the discussion will provide insight into how to effectively take advantage of innovation competitions in a meaningful, balanced manner.

Muriu won second prize in the IPA 2015 competition, scooping US$25 000 for his ground-breaking innovation, Farm Capital Africa (FCA) that addresses the perennial challenge faced by African farmers in accessing capital to finance planting and harvesting. During the Twitter chat, Muriu will share his experiences on tapping into innovation competitions, and discuss the bigger picture behind the prize.

Join our IPA Twitter chat by simply logging into Twitter, and search for #IPA2016. We would love to hear your voice and invite you to be a part of our conversation.

Key Twitter handles for the chat include:

@PaulineM4

@mcleansibanda

@hellomuriu

@IPAPrize

@AfrInnovFdn

Don’t forget to check out and comment on our blog where we’ll be featuring the conversation: http://innovationprizeforafrica.org/blog

Apply for IPA 2016 today and stand a chance to win your share of US$150 000 and much more! You have just over six weeks to submit your application. Early submissions are likely to receive feedback with an opportunity for revision and resubmission if deemed necessary by the IPA Secretariat.

The deadline for IPA 2016 applications is 31 October 2015 at 24:00GMT. Learn more here: http://innovationprizeforafrica.org/apply-now/ . For general inquiries on IPA, email us at ipainfo@africaninnovation.org